we read the portion of Chayei Sarah and bless the month of
Kislev. The portion begins with the passing of Sarah and the
purchase of Ma’arat Hamachpelah (The cave of the patriarchs) in
Chevron as her burial place. Thereafter the Torah describes the
preparation for the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivkah. Rivkah
was in Aram Naharayim, and since Hashem forbade Yitzchak to
Avraham’s servant Eliezer was chosen to find him a suitable
bride. The many miracles that occurred during his mission
demonstrated to him that Rivkah was the intended bride and the
matriarch of the Jewish people.
with Rivkah the Torah relates “Yitzchak brought her into the
tent of Sarah his mother” and thereafter married her. Rashi
explains that the words “the tent of Sarah his mother” teach us
that when she came to their home, all of the blessings that had
departed when Sarah passed on returned. During Sarah’s life, her
Shabbat candles burnt from one Friday until the next. Upon
Sarah’s passing, the miracle ceased and with Rivkah’s arrival it
returned. During Sarah’s life, there was a blessing in the dough
which returned with Rivkah. During Sarah’s life, there was a
cloud (representing the Divine Presence) that rested upon the
tent. It returned with Rivkah’s arrival. Upon witnessing these
miracles, Yitzchak took her as his bride.
miracles were more than just a sign that Rivkah was the chosen.
They teach us the three criteria for a Jewish home. The Shabbat
candles illuminate. Burning throughout the week teaches us that
the light from a Mitzvah must continue to shine long after the
Mitzvah has been performed. The home must be so permeated with
each Mitzvah that even when we have completed the Mitzvah we
feel its light and warmth. The lighting of Shabbat candles
exemplifies this idea because the holiness of Shabbat must
permeate the entire week.
in the dough came from the Mitzvah of Kashrut and caused that
even when one ate a small quantity, he was satiated. This
teaches us that we should see all of our possessions as means to
an end rather than goals in and of themselves. Whatever Hashem
gives us should be use to its utmost potential and that will
bring further blessings. It is interesting to note that the
Hebrew word evyon (destitute) literally means someone who
desires rather than one who lacks. This teaches us that one who
feels that he lacks is indeed destitute. This is related to
Kashrut, which connects our eating to a higher purpose, and
specifically to the Mitzvah of Challah, in which we dedicate the
first of the kneaded dough to Hashem.
The cloud on
the tent represents the Divine Presence. The presence of Hashem
is both a great blessing and a great responsibility. Realizing
Hashem’s immediate presence, we must cleanse our homes and our
behavior of anything unfit. This is exemplified in the Mitzvah
of family purity, the laws of Mikveh.
The name of
this portion is very intriguing. Chayei Sarah means the life of
Sarah, and she passes on in the second verse! In truth, the name
gives us a deeper understanding into who Sarah was and into the
true meaning of life. Sarah’s life was her accomplishment in
this world. Her whole devotion was to raising Yitzchak to follow
in the path of his parents and father the Jewish nation.
Yitzchak’s marriage to Rivkah and establishing a home that
paralleled his mothers was the true Chayei Sarah, the true life
teaches that in the merit of Shabbat candles we shall see the
candles of the redemption of
May we witness the coming of Moshiach immediately and see the
actual clouds of Hashem’s glory in each of our homes.